Brainstorming Games

Brainstorming games is well known as a way to break up old ways of thinking, get your team into a creative mode, and come up with some new and useful ideas. However, most people can't just jump into it cold, without any kind of structure. If you've ever been in a brainstorming session where everyone just waits for someone else to speak, you've seen what starting without a framework can be like. That's why there are brainstorming games.



These games provide a useful and often entertaining framework to help you start generating your ideas. Let's take a look at a few of the options and how they can help you get into the right mindset.

Start your brainstorming session off with one of these games. This method helps your team create effective brainstorms

General Brainstorming Guidelines

  • Set a time limit for the brainstorming.
  • All ideas are good ideas
  • Do not judge an idea when presented to the group
  • Do not talk during the silent brainstorming session
  • Record all Brainstorm ideas
  • Take turns when presenting the ideas
  • Assign a monitor to keep the brainstorm focused.

The Crawford Slip Method

This isn't exactly a brainstorming game, but it's a common brainstorming structure than can help get things going, and it removes the fear that anyone will be laughed at for the idea they come up with.

Identical slips of paper (five to fifty apiece) are handed out to everyone in your brainstorming group. Sticky notes or cut up scratch paper are popular choices.

Then, you ask the group for their ideas on a topic, and have them write a single idea per slip on the paper.

When things slow down, the slips are handed in, and you can go over them. Be sure you provide a summary of responses - the participants will be more interested this way.

The only downside to this method is that it's hard to bounce ideas off of those generated by others, the way you do in more interactive brainstorming games. Splitting the session up into several mini-sessions and summarizing the slips in between can help you prevent this.





Whose Line Is It Anyway?

You might remember this television show, known for a variety of improvisational activities. The same kind of methods used in improv acting can help you brainstorm!

Try collecting some random props, either from home, from the office, or from things the team is carrying. Place them in the middle of the room, and invite the team to come up with fictional uses for them. This gets the creative juices working and encourages your team to think outside the box and bounce ideas off one another.

After ten to fifteen minutes, you can sit down and get to work on brainstorming your real problem. Just be sure you don't get distracted and forget about addressing your business problem!


Mind Maps

Another brainstorming game involves making a mind map. It works very well when used with the right followup methods. Step one is to reduce the size of your group, if it's a large one - break it down into four or five people in a set. Give each group a big sheet of paper or a white board to work on, as well as a few different colors of markers. Write the focus of the brainstorm in the middle of the paper, and draw a circle is around it.

Once this is done, the groups draws lines branching out from the middle of the map. During the brainstorm, write down anything that relates to the thought in the center - no matter how relevant it is. You'll pare things down later. Circle everything you write down. Branch off the new ideas until you run out of paper. If necessary, the groups may go onto an additional page.

The branches off the subtopics are the most interesting and useful in most brainstorming situations. Once the map is completed, each group presents it to the other groups, and commentary can begin!


Night and Day

This brainstorming game is all about opposites, and remove us from our normal routines. Start by making a list of common words, such as night, orange, heavy, fast, etc.

Then, get your team to come up with the first opposite they can think of for each word. Eliminate those words. This gets rid of the most obvious words. Now, have your team come up with three more opposites for each word. This encourages them to think more creatively.

Similar words will eventually find their way into your list. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since they can spark more ideas. Just make sure you don't spend more than about a quarter of an hour on this exercise, so you can move on to the more useful brainstorming.

Write down your problem statement clearly and simply, then start generating new ideas with the creative thinking you've unlocked!





The SCAMPER System

A clever acronym denotes seven different techniques used in this brainstorming game. Each one lets you think about the situation from a different angle, exposing new ideas. You can brainstorm each one seperately as needed.

The S is for Substitute, and asks you to determine alternatives for materials, processes, techniques and other elements you're already using.

The C stands for Combine, and asks you to combine functions and items that are currently separate.

The A stands for Adapt, and requires exploring ways to adapt something you already have to solve your problems.

The M is for Modify, and involves paying attention to areas that you could change to get closer to your goal.

The P stands for Put to other use, and aks you to think about alternate uses for your product or service, to help you solve your problem.

The E is for Eliminate, and asks brainstormers to come up with ways to get rid of inefficiency and other problems.

The R is last, and stands for Rearrange, asking you to come up with a way to move things around for greater efficiency.


There are lots of other brainstorming games out there that can help you get out of your old way of thinking and into a more creative headspace. They can be a real help for almost every brainstorming group. If you have a problem, you need new ideas. That's why brainstorming games can be such a big help.


SWOT Technique

After reviewing this page on brainstorming games, see here for SWOT analysis which is a common brainstorming activity.
Carousel Brainstorming

Another brainstorm method is carousel brainstorming


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